If you haven’t noticed, a while back I added a “News” page to the blog (you can find the link under the tab for “Articles” on the homepage). Here’s a news item where a 90% termination rate would actually be lower than what is happening.
In other posts, I have detailed how those writing about prenatal testing should update their figures and cease using the oft-quoted, but now out-dated, 90% termination rate following a prenatal diagnosis. That number is based on a study from 1999, which is based on figures from the 1980’s. While there is no study that establishes the termination rate for the United States on a national scale, the more recent studies from select states suggest that the rate instead is somewhere around 75%.
What gets lost in this discussion about rates and percentages, is that at that lower rate, there are actually more abortions than when the rate was at 90%. I explain this apparent contradiction here.
But, the 90% rate is a very real number in other countries. Moreover, due to prenatal testing being part of a public health care system, almost all expectant moms accept it. And, in that situation, having that high of a termination rate, results in a termination rate exceeding 80% for all pregnancies. Whereas, the historical 90% rate, and now the current 75% rate, applies only to those moms who go through prenatal testing, in France and Switzerland, greater than 80% of all pregnancies carrying a child with Down syndrome end in abortion. This means that if there are 100 pregnancies carrying a child with Down syndrome, at least 80 will end in abortion.
But, even that stark of a figure would be less than the most recent figures reported out of Taiwan.
In a report in the Taipai Times, new prenatal testing is reducing the ratio of live-born babies with Down syndrome as compared to all pregnancies with Down syndrome from 70% in 1994 to just 5.99% in 2010. This means out of 100 pregnancies positive for Down syndrome, 70 resulted in a live-birth in 1994, but only 6 were live-births in 2010. The article again is visited by Voldemort: it does not say how exactly prenatal testing is causing this elimination of live-births. Nonetheless, the Taiwan Society of Perinatology is “urging all pregnant women to undertake the recommended tests.”
So, to understand those numbers, we’re not talking a 90% termination rate following a prenatal diagnosis. We are talking that 96% of all pregnancies carrying a child with Down syndrome in Taiwan end in abortion.
This is not a termination rate. It is an elimination rate.